Iconic 90s brand Dready made a welcome return earlier this year, sparking waves of fond nostalgia from fans who wore it back in the day. Fresh from a release earlier this year of tee’s featuring artwork from the original artist Robert Sidlauskas, Dready have released a second drop of tees, enlisting the help of long-time fan of the brand DJ Oneman to feature in the lookbook.
The Dready brand saw a steep incline in 1981, enjoying success at music festivals before launching the showcasing at their first trade shows both in London and Europe. Dready soon reached global heights in terms of distribution and fast became the urban ‘Mickey Mouse’ of the 90s
Dready was the creation of a young Birmingham-based Rastafarian named Robert Sidlauskas who in the late 70’s and early 80’s used the power of his pencil (and biro) to convey his beliefs and ideals. Robert went on to create original and unique illustrations in the thousands, including his ubiquitous Dready character as well as a previously unseen crew; Barley Corn, Guru and Natty Dread, and his love interest Jellybean.
Inspiration for the art came from varying sources including reggae, punk rock, the experience of unemployment, as well as his beliefs in humanity and in finding an escape in art from the street life of the time. Bob Marley was a huge influence for Dready’s young Rasta character, both in physicality and his desired influence on a ‘worldwide positive vibe’.
It was Robert’s old and dear friend, Christopher Carpenter who first saw the potential in his illustrations, citing him as the urban Mickey Mouse, and printing his creations onto clothes, creating the Dready clothing brand. Today, along with Robert’s family and Christopher’s daughter Victoria, the brand is being revived and the artist’s talent is once again being celebrated.
This collection is the second drop of limited edition t-shirts which showcase rare and previously unseen works of art by Robert Sidlauskas. Featuring Dready and his crew, each T-shirt design has been picked because of it’s unique story and powerful message – straight from the pen of Sidlauskas.
DJ Oneman, a stalwart South London DJ fondly remembers the brand from his youth; “I’ve always been around the Dready brand from being a kid. I’m 29 so it was the older lads that had all the bits, I’d always see it around but was just before my time. Nostalgically it means a lot to me when it comes to association with street culture and music in the UK. Dready to me is a social outlet through clothing with humour and most importantly good design work that has a message.”
Words: Tom Kirkby